It is said that Occupy Central and the reactions to it have torn apart Hong Kong society. There is serious confrontation between the protesters and the government, Occupiers and anti-Occupiers, the young and the old, students and their teachers, … It has already destroyed many relations between friends and family members. Many are going through personal conflicts - to occupy or to retreat? to speak up or keep quiet? to press for changes or trust in promises? to insist on living out personal political beliefs or give in to the desires of parents?
Amid all the anguish, the Christian Faith has largely been silent. Some of the core participants of Occupy Central such as Benny Tai, Rev. Chu and Joshua Wong are known to be Christians. Some Christians have tried to provide counselling to the protesters at Admiralty. But mostly, churches have been keeping quiet.
I am not advocating that Christian churches come out to support one side or the other. I believe Christians should participate in the protest or anti-protest, if they wish, as individuals. What I am wondering is: does our faith really have nothing to offer to all the people who are facing such anguish that is making it very difficult for them to lead a normal life?
Many church leaders are afraid to even bring up the issue for fear of creating tension in their churches. Some are saying Christians should stay out of politics. Some are saying we should preach the Gospel and give up trying to improve society. Others maintain that God will carry out justice and it is not necessary for Christians to do anything.
I agree that governments should not interfere with churches - that is the true meaning of the principle of separation of church and state. What the US constitution says is "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". It does not say that believers should keep out of Congress.
Christians believe that they know the truth. Does it make sense to leave the running of the government to people who “do not know the truth”? Churches should not take a stand in a political conflict. But, shouldn’t believers, as individuals, contribute to the governing of Hong Kong by making their “wisdom” known?
When so many people are in anguish, facing immense difficulty in personal political decisions and inter-personal relations, do Christians really have nothing to offer them? By staying silent when society is crying out for directions, I am afraid we may be failing our society.